Pak Railways mulls switching to locally made components

CEO says it will ease foreign exchange pressure, reduce trade gap

Our Correspondent August 28, 2022
Heads of states of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan appealed in a letter to the World Bank to finance the railway project. photo: REUTERS


Pakistan Railways (PR) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Farrukh Taimur Ghilzai has expressed a keen desire to switch to locally manufactured locomotives components and wagons instead of spending foreign exchange on importing these parts from abroad.

Talking to a Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts and Accessories Manufacturers (Paapam) delegation on Saturday, the CEO observed that the locomotive parts produced in Pakistan were not inferior to international standards and that Paapam and PR should develop close interaction to understand each other’s needs.

“This is the only way to ease out foreign exchange pressure, as trade deficit of the country continues to rise,” he added.

The delegation’s aim to visit the railway headquarters was to bridge the gap between Paapam members and PR, and to promote localisation to preserve the dwindling foreign exchange.

On this occasion, the delegation gave a comprehensive presentation to the PR CEO, who was flanked by his technical experts.

The visiting delegation proposed, and the CEO concurred, that a vendor prequalification mechanism was required to enlist vendors of repute.

Ghilzai invited Paapam to carry on hosting similar meetings in the future to determine ways on developing a public-private partnership.

Paapam’s Business Development Committee convener Mirza Sikander Baig also apprised the PR CEO of engineering areas where Paapam could cooperate with the railways, and other state-owned engineering entities, including Wapda, SNGPL and defence.

“This working collaboration will favourably impact the government’s vision of indigenisation, leading to substantial saving of foreign exchange,” he hoped, adding that the collaboration would help to boost the local industry, create job opportunities, and curb foreign expenditure.

He explained, “The local industry is fully capable of bridging the huge gap of ever-rising trade deficit not only through enhancing exports, but also by controlling unchecked imports through ‘import deletion’ of industrial replacement parts.”

Stressing the need of public-private partnership, he said there was a huge possibility of import deletion of industrial replacement parts, in addition to automotive parts, that could minimise the country’s dependence on imported goods using reverse engineering technology in Pakistan in line with the Chinese model.

“This will prevent the rapid outflow of billions of dollars spent on imported merchandise,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2022.

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